Pegasus program gives youth a leg up

Many people mistakenly believe that the local track season ends with the respective state track meets in Ohio and West Virginia. Thanks to the unwavering diligence of a group of volunteers, track season actually runs through the end of June, culminating with Saturday’s Kidsfest 2014 sponsored by the Pegasus Track Club.

Kidsfest 2014 will be held Saturday on the Frank Mangano Memorial Track at East Liverpool High School. The meet, which is for athletes ages 4-18, begins at 9:30 a.m. Registrations are currently being accepted and will close at 8:30 a.m., Saturday. This is the 25th consecutive year for Kidsfest. Kidsfest is the largest meet of its kind in the area and annually draws 300-400 athletes.

The first 200 registrants will receive a T-shirt. Preregistration is $10. Late registrations are $15 per athlete. Further information on registering can be obtained by calling (330) 419-1532 or via email at

Pegasus Track Club president Alma Claypool, explained the purpose of the club, saying, “Our main goal is to get young athletes interested in track. We want them to learn to love the sport. It’s important that they enjoy themselves while they’re here.”

There are approximately 225-250 athletes on the Pegasus team this summer. Practice began in mid-May. In addition to practicing regularly each week, Pegasus members have at least one meet, sometimes more, each week during the month of June, which takes a huge amount of preparation and organization.

Claypool is quick to deflect praise that comes her way, saying, “We wouldn’t be able to do all that we do if we didn’t have such an outstanding board of directors. They take on the responsibilities of finding sponsors for each of our meets, handling registrations, operating the concession stands, coaching, conducting the meets and doing the multitude of tasks that having such a large team entails. It’s truly a labor of love for every one of them.”

Board members, in addition to Claypool, are Lisa Palmer (Vice President), Julie Voorhees (Treasurer), Nadine Connor (Secretary), Dick Bangor, Terry Boyer, Andrew Claypool, Brian Connor, Andrea Dobbins and Mike Walton.

While all of Pegasus’ meets are important to Claypool, Kidsfest holds a special place in Claypool’s heart. The meet honors her late father, John Conrad. Conrad was instrumental in the formation of Pegasus and an extremely valued member of the board during the club’s early years before his untimely death in 2002.

Special memorial plaques are awarded at Kidsfest in Conrad’s memory.

“I get emotional at this meet,” said Claypool. “I like to think that he is looking down and smiling at us for carrying on his work. Our scholarships are named in memory of him. Over the years, we have awarded more than $21,000 in his name.”

While the bulk of the Pegasus team is comprised of students from Beaver Local, East Liverpool, Oak Glen and Wellsville, membership is open to students from other schools.

“While we we are based in East Liverpool, athletes from other schools are welcome to join us,” Claypool said. “It’s all about the kids. They are the reason we do this. We want them to enjoy track.”